Guardian Newspaper

Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola, yesterday blamed the attitude of Nigerians for the country’s poor showing in agribusiness.

He noted that an average citizen believes that white-collar jobs were good while farming was dirty, stating that the colonial masters planted the apathy.

This is just as the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and AfricaRice entered into a three-year partnership with the university for the training of 1,000 youths in various agriculture techniques.

The team of experts from the partnering agencies said the essence of the programme was to tackle youth unemployment in Nigeria and encourage that targeted population to perceive farming as a profitable business.

Babalola bared his mind at the unveiling of the partnership during the kick-off of the IFAD Project Inception Workshop tagged, “Youth empowerment in agribusiness and sustainable agriculture” at the tertiary institution.

IFAD Technical Specialist and team leader, Dr. Malu Muia Ndavi, said the agencies were collaborating with the ivory tower owing to their concerns for unemployment in Nigeria and Africa.

He stressed that all hands must be on deck to tackle joblessness and its attendant consequences on the continent.

Ndavi added that Africa must re-examine its modules of education and rework its curricular to be in tune with 21st century economic growth.

The expert held that for a university to be great, it has to be a training ground for all categories of persons, especially farmers.

His words: “Let me assure you, we will listen to the modalities set by ABUAD to train 1,000 youths within two months in modern farming. We are going to ensure that every commitment we make is delivered and this will mark the beginning of a longstanding partnership with this university.”

To underscore the value he places on farming, Babalola said if he had a second chance of coming to this world, he would embrace farming as a profession.

The Acting Vice Chancellor, Prof. Sylvester Ojo, said the citadel of learning was established to make a mark and contribute to global development.

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